"Concordia Sports - The First One Hundred Years"Next Section
(a work in progress ) by Vernon Finn Grinaker
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Chapter 5 -- The War Years

 1940-1941 | 1941-1942 | 1942-1943 | 1943-1944 | 1944-1945 | 1945-1946 | 1946-1947 | 1947-1948 1948-1949 | 1949-1950 | Looking Back -- The War Years |

Looking Back -- the War Years

Despite not having a military unit on campus, Concordia managed to compete in both football and basketball throughout the war years. An Army unit was briefly stationed on the campus during the early part of the war, but due to inadequate facilities it moved over to Moorhead State.

The early forties saw the beginning of the Jake Christiansen era at Concordia which was going to continue for over a quarter of a century. He experienced almost immediate success in football, as in his second season, the Cobbers tied for the MIAC championship with St. Thomas. His workload at Concordia during those years was almost unbelievable. He was chairman of the Physical Education Department, athletic director, football coach, basketball coach, planner and designer of the new athletic field complex and fieldhouse, recruiter, and in addition, was involved in a myriad of community activities including being a member of the school board.

Other than the football championship team in 1942, the Cobbers experienced moderate success during the decade. Concordia teams were well-coached and respected by their opponents. It was during this time that Jake was very concerned about trying to get the quality athlete necessary to compete in the MIAC. He encouraged the college and the alumni to help in this very important matter.

The so-called minor sports made some major strides during this period. Baseball, tennis and golf all became more competitive and became a solid part of the athletic program.

In the mid-forties, Irv Christenson took over the Physical Education Department in addition to some coaching duties. This took a tremendous load off of Jake's shoulders. These two men worked together in a remarkable fashion. Also in the late forties, Finn Grinaker joined the staff as an assistant football and basketball coach.

The dream of a new fieldhouse continued to receive much attention and it would become a reality in the beginning of the fifties.

A major development occurred during this period in the establishment of a new athletic complex which included the football field, track, baseball diamonds, intramural fields, practice areas and parking areas. These facilities were located on the 65-acre plot of ground purchased many years earlier. The old football field was located on the present site of Brown Hall. A cinder track with underground drainage surrounded the new football field. The baseball field located south of the football field is the varsity men's baseball field while the field north of the football field is the women's softball field. Several rows of trees planted along the east and south sides of the field served as a windbreak.

Coach Christiansen planned and engineered the project with students help doing most of the labor.

Chapter 5

2. Concordian, November 28, 1940.
3. Concordian, February 13, 1941.
4. Concordian, May 8, 1941.
5. Concordian, May 15, 1941.
6. Concordian, March 5, 1942.
7. Concordian, November 13, 1941.
8. Concordian, May 14, 1942.
9. Concordian, February 25, 1943.
10. Concordian, May 20, 1944.
11. Concordian, May 24, 1946.
12. Concordian, October 27, 1948.
13. Concordian, November 1, 1948.
14. Concordian, April 1, 1949.
15. Concordian, June 1, 1948.
16. Don Sponheim, Concordian, March 24, 1950.
18. Howard Wagner, Concordian, March 31, 1950.
19. Concordian, March 17, 1950.
20. Concordian, , 1950.

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